After an undisclosed security breach was revealed, Google+ will be shutting down

Google headquarters in Mountain View California.                  Stephen Shankland  CNET

Google headquarters in Mountain View California. Stephen Shankland CNET

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google accidentally leaked the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users between 2015 and March of this year.

"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused", Smith said. A bug in their Google+ People APIs, which potentially exposed the data of over 500.000 users and was promptly patched in March 2018. It did not include phone numbers, the content of emails or messages, or other kinds of communication data.

Google+ was launched in 2011, quickly becoming a failed attempt to compete with Facebook.

Google said it discovered a bug in Google+ that allowed developers of "up to 438 applications" to access personal information from users who had opted to keep that information private.

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While Google says there is no clear misuse of profile data that occurred as a result of this breach, MacMillan of the Journal says it raises questions about the company's commitment to user privacy. "Our goal is to support a wide range of useful apps, while ensuring that everyone is confident that their data is secure".

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Ben Smith, Google Fellow and VP of Engineering, admitted in a statement "It [Google+] has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps".

Within hours, Google published its own report.

The API allowed users to grant access to their and their friends' profile information to apps. "Underlining this, as part of our Project Strobe audit, we discovered a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs", Google said in its announcement.

Google+ API's log data is only for kept two weeks, so it can not confirm which users were impacted by this bug. According to market research company Statista, the Google platform does not feature anywhere in the top 20 list of most famous social media sites based on active users as of July 2018.

Because of all of this, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google+ for consumers.

Google reveals on a support page that the Google+ app can't be deleted on some Android devices, but they can be disabled on all Android devices.

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